I, Frankenstein (2014) – Review

Directed by Stuart Beattie
Written by Stuart Beattie & Kevin Grevioux
Starring Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Miranda Otto

Well, I just don’t know. Perhaps I wasn’t paying attention in my English Literature class at school, but when I read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein thirty-odd years ago, I’m fairly sure it didn’t have gargoyles and demons in it. I could be wrong. It has been a while, after all.
This very new, very shiny, very expensive revisit to what has been called the first science-fiction story ever told is a bit of a lacklustre affair, lacking any real uniqueness and heart, with a few too many nods to contemporary neighbours such as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, any of the Underworld franchise and Van Helsing to name but three.
‘The Further Adventures of Adam’ would be a more apt title, as this features the story of Dr Frankenstein’s Monster, played here by the normally perfectly watchable Aaron Eckhart. Why he would agree to appearing in this is just plain bewildering as he is worth so much more than the opportunities afforded to him here.
“Well, Mr Eckhart, we will need to you to look angry, alot. All the time, if we’re honest. Oh, and while we’re about it, just a quick heads up for you, the character has no soul, hence no feelings. Think you can cope with not actually having to act at all then? Questions? Oh, don’t worry about those for now. Just let me direct your attention to this massive pile of cash.”
So, after he buries Frankenstein, murders his wife and foils a kidnapping attempt by a bunch of demons,  he gets whisked off to Gargoyle City (a ruddy big cathedral) where he meets Queen of the Gargoyles, Miranda Otto, who basically tells him that the demons want him so they can find out his creator’s secret for breathing life into him from apparently nothing, for the purpose of raising the dead and possessing them, creating their own demon army which will ultimately take over the world. Then we jump forward two hundred years to the present day, when all of this nonsense royally kicks off.
Meh. And to be honest,  I was just as unmoved watching it as telling you about it. You’re pretty much on a hiding to nothing when your main character has no soul, or opportunity for development. It makes engaging with them nigh on impossible for the audience. Throw a foxy scientist into the equation for a little light relief in the form of helpless humanity and you have at least some kind of heightened personal interest going on, but really, this is just about the visuals, which admittedly are impressive. Still, you need to have a thing for gargoyles and/or cheaply made-up demons if this is going to work for you at any level.
With some great action sequences and the odd well choreographed fight scene, the bells and whistles are worth a viewing, but don’t expect to be taken away and enveloped in a magical fantasy tale that will force you to forget just how much you paid to be connned into watching it. Time and money are especially important when you realise you’re wasting them. More alarming still when guilty of doing both at the same time.
I’ve said too much already, but you have been warned. It’s not a complete turkey, but if you’ve watched the risible Pompeii lately and wondered just how you ended up sitting in the theatre, looking at your watch, just praying that it would end, then you know where I’m coming from. Just watch the trailer and you’re set. No, really.You won’t remember this in a couple of months, and if you do, you can expect to get it mixed up with something else. A pointless and needless make-over.

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